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The Netherlands are a member state of the European Union as well as the Schengen Agreement. Hitchhiking in the Netherlands is quite easy, and legal in most places, though not on motorways. The basic idea is that when you're allowed to walk somewhere, you can stand there for hitching too. Standing on a motorway entrance just in front of the motorway sign is allowed as well as standing on a petrol station along the motorway. Asking the Dutch people at a service station is faster than waiting while using the thumb for hitchhiking.

Flag of Netherlands Netherlands
Language: Dutch, Frisian
Capital: Amsterdam
Population: 17,869,000
Currency: Euro (€)
Hitchability: <rating country='nl' />
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<map lat='52.2' lng='5.2' zoom='6' view='0' country='Netherlands'/>
There are many creeks in the Netherlands and they can make it hard to get to petrol stations on the motorway

Since 1991 Dutch students have a card providing them with free public transport (either on weekends or during the week), so hitchhiking is not as popular as it used to be. In some university towns there are still official liftershaltes, official hitchhiking spots. The current government intends to make an end to free public transport for students from the beginning of 2016.

Other good places are petrol stations along the motorways and the entrances to the motorway from larger cities (when there is a stopping space such as an emergency lane). On such a place the average waiting time is 5–45 minutes (same as Germany). A major difference with Germany is that many lifts are not longer than 50 km.

At petrol stations you should definitely try to talk to people, which will probably work out fine if you don't dress up like a hippie. Many people will not stop their cars if you stand with the board but will take you if you ask them in person (which is a general hitchhiking principle). Try to speak in Dutch or English. French and German often work too, but not as effectively. Most likely the Dutch people will avoid you while speaking in German. In the Netherlands, there are as well a lot of seasonal workers and immigrants. There are particularly a lot of people from Poland and Bulgaria. Thus, it is fairly easy to get a lift for instance straight to Poland if you know the language or are communicative enough to sway Polish people to take you.

Sometimes the petrol stations workers tell you to not ask people in front of the shop directly. You can then hitch at the exit of the station which is mostly just as good but as its disadvantages of course.

Useful tips

  • Download and print 42 ready made hitchhiking signs for easy hitchhiking all across the Netherlands!
  • Use of Internet PCs in every city library, for a small price. Also you can find lots of public wi-fi networks that you can connect your laptop with for using the internet.
  • When hitching in the Netherlands for a longer period (or when you're living there), it's advisable to get a chipkaart This is a lot cheaper than buying a one way-ticket or day-ticket on the bus or tram. See for all info
    • The old Strippenkaart isn't available any more as of November 2011. The two options now are the new chipkaart or the new tickets called Gemakskaart, which is way more expensive than the old Strippenkaart.
  • Banks and supermarkets often have free coffee and sometimes even cookies.
  • 'Lefier' (or local job-centres) have free coffee and sometimes jars of free chocolates and mints.
  • Some employees of petrol stations may tell you not to hitch in front of the station, where the pumps are. Finding a ride at the parking lot, or thumbing where the back of the station starts is not a problem. Keep petrol station employees for friends and avoid starting unnecessary discussions.
  • Shell has internal guidelines to only allow customers on their property. A hitchhiker may therefore be asked not to talk with drivers in the forecourt of the station, but this rarely happens. If this happens, buy a coffee or inexpensive whatever-bar, and ask for the receipt. This will formally make you a customer!
Dutch Hall of Shame of petrol stations where hitch-hikers have been asked not to talk with costumers on the forecourt
Service station Kloosters (Shell), A59, Tilburg --> Eindhoven (Fverhart was asked once out of 4 times), other hitch-hikers have also been asked not to talk with costumers Winner of Most Unfriendly Petrol Station Award in the Netherlands
Service station Swentibold (Shell), A2, Maastricht --> Eindhoven (Fverhart was asked once out of 6 times)
Service station Haarrijn (Shell), A2, Amsterdam --> Utrecht (Fverhart was asked once out of 7 times)
  • When using trains in The Netherlands, you may be able to travel at a discount rate (-40%). Travelling with a printed ticket is no longer possible. Every traveller needs to have an OV-chipcard to use public transportation. You need to active "Samenreiskorting" (travel together reduction) on your OV-chipcard. The procedure is described on the website of NS (Dutch railways). If you have activated this and checked in with 40% reduction you can travel together with another traveller with an "NS abonnement" (NS season ticket holder), so you need to find somebody who has one, ideally before departure of the train. This is valid on weekdays after 09:00 and during the weekend without limitation (however, there are several types of season tickets nowadays, and some of them do not qualify for discount during the afternoon rush hours).


Personal Experiences

I hitch hike a huge amount in the Netherlands and it is almost always successful. As stated above, managers in petrol stations sometimes ask you to leave the main forecourt. This has been happening with increasing frequency to me at Shell stations in particular, but I have not experienced this at any other petrol company (they are usually more than happy if I politely ask where I could stand without being a nuisance)

Having had 307 rides from Dutch motorway petrol stations, I have been asked not to talk with drivers on the forecourt three times (at stations operated by Shell). Much more often I have gotten positive gestures from employees and occasionally they offered me a drink, a snack, a ride (!) or cardboard. Staff in Germany is definitely friendlier though.... Respect and politeness are keywords.

I hitchhiked from Amsterdam across the German border to Osnabrück in one day, meeting a lot of incredible Dutch people. Sometimes I waited less than one minute, others I waited for two hours. I had better luck on shoulders of ramps and on local roads than at petrol stations, many people at petrol stations did not want to hear it. Many people bought/offered food. I was also hitchhiking on a holiday (King's Day) which may have made my luck worse.

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Dutch motorways


Dutch cities with more than 100.000 inhabitants

> 500.000: AmsterdamRotterdam

300.000-500.000: Den HaagUtrecht

150.000–300.000: EindhovenTilburgAlmereNijmegenGroningen

100.000–150.000: AmersfoortApeldoornArnhemBredaDordrechtEnschedeHaarlem's-HertogenboschLeidenMaastrichtZoetermeerZwolle

If you search cities with less than 100.000 inhabitants, have a look at the seperate Provinces articles. You find them at the bottom of this page.